The Buddha in the Attic (Pen/Faulkner Award - Fiction)

The Buddha in the Attic (Pen/Faulkner Award - Fiction)

Julie Otsuka

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 0307744426

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award For Fiction
National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
A New York Times Notable Book

A gorgeous novel by the celebrated author of When the Emperor Was Divine that tells the story of a group of young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as “picture brides” nearly a century ago. In eight unforgettable sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces the extraordinary lives of these women, from their arduous journeys by boat, to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; from their experiences raising children who would later reject their culture and language, to the deracinating arrival of war. Once again, Julie Otsuka has written a spellbinding novel about identity and loyalty, and what it means to be an American in uncertain times.

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your way home. THEY CAUGHT TADPOLES and dragonflies down by the creek and put them into glass jars. They watched us kill the chickens. They found the places in the hills where the deer had last slept and lay down in their round nests in the tall, flattened grass. They pulled the tails off of lizards to see how long it would take them to grow back. Nothing’s happening. They brought home baby sparrows that had fallen from the trees and fed them sweetened rice gruel with a toothpick but in the

stopped talking. Another of us went out early one morning to water the horses and hung herself in the barn. Fubuki was so anxious that when the evacuation orders were finally posted she let out a sigh of relief, for at last, the waiting had come to an end. Teiko stared at the notice in disbelief and quietly shook her head. “But what about our strawberries?” she asked. “They’ll be ready to pick in three weeks.” Machiko said she wasn’t going, it was as simple as that. “We just renewed our lease for

through the Fujimotos’ front window. Dying koi in a pond over at the Yamaguchis’. And everywhere, the dogs. We offer them bowls of water, pieces of bread, leftover scraps from our tables, the butcher sends over a fresh cut of filet mignon. The Koyamas’ dog sniffs politely and then turns away. The Uedas’ dog bolts past us and before we can stop her she’s out the front gate. The Nakanishis’ dog—a Scottish terrier that is a dead ringer for the President’s little black dog, Fala—bares his teeth and

they groan. Some of them begin looking for new nannies to take care of their young children. Others advertise for new cooks. Many hire new gardeners and maids: sturdy young women from the Philippines, thin bearded Hindus, short squat Mexicans from Oaxaca who, though not always sober, are friendly enough—Buenos días, they say, and Sí, cómo no?—and willing to mow their lawns for cheap. Most take the plunge and drop off their laundry with the Chinese. And even though their linens might not come back

we had. We cut out pictures of cakes from magazines and hung them on the walls. We sewed curtains out of bleached rice sacks. We made Buddhist altars out of overturned tomato crates that we covered with cloth, and every morning we left out a cup of hot tea for our ancestors. And at the end of the harvest season we walked ten miles into town and bought ourselves a small gift: a bottle of Coke, a new apron, a tube of lipstick, which we might one day have occasion to wear. Perhaps I shall be invited

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